Social Indicators Research

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 387–399 | Cite as

Does Weather Really Influence the Measurement of Life Satisfaction?

  • Claudia Schmiedeberg
  • Jette SchröderEmail author


Since the beginning of the nineties, a number of studies indicate that weather conditions at interview day can have an effect on measurement, in particular regarding life satisfaction. In their seminal paper, Schwarz and Clore (J Pers Soc Psychol 45(3):513–523, 1983) show higher reported life satisfaction for sunny days, a finding which is replicated recently by Kämpfer and Mutz (Soc Indic Res 110(2):579–595, 2013). However, both studies are based on relatively small samples (from a few dozen up to 200 cases). We use data of the German Family Panel (pairfam) and local weather data for every respondent to investigate if weather effects on satisfaction measurement can be replicated with a large sample (about 7,000 respondents). In addition to cross-sectional analyses in which we follow closely the approach of Kämpfer and Mutz, we estimate fixed effects regressions to model the effect of weather on individual changes in satisfaction over time. We do neither find an effect of nice weather on the day of the interview on the respondents’ ratings of general life satisfaction nor a consistent effect on any of the other satisfaction measures. These results show that at least with simple weather measures as they have been used as yet a relationship between weather conditions at interview day and answering behavior regarding life satisfaction cannot be found.


Life satisfaction Mood Weather Sunshine Measurement error 



We thank Josef Brüderl for his support, Daniel Fuss for the data service as well as Klaus Pforr and the reviewers for helpful comments. This paper uses data from the German Family Panel pairfam, coordinated by Josef Brüderl, Johannes Huinink, Bernhard Nauck, and Sabine Walper. Pairfam is funded as long-term project by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ludwig Maximilian University MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social SciencesMannheimGermany

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